Friday, December 9, 2016

Tech | The Vision Group e-paper collection: What you need to know

So, Vision Group slashed prices for the online versions of their publications several weeks back. The latest figures show all English publications (New Vision, Saturday Vision, Sunday Vision and Kampala Sun) at a flat rate of 1,000 UGX, while all the locals are now at 500 UGX with the sole exception of Bukedde that goes for 800 UGX.

Access to the same is pretty straightforward – all one has to do is access their page at:, choose a paper of their choice and pay for it. There are several options. One may use MTN mobile money, Visa, MasterCard or even Airtel money.

Of the four, I find MTN mobile money most convenient. It’s just a two-step process that only requires you to input your number and go ahead to approve the transaction on your phone (tech junkies like Simon Peter will call it a debit request).

Cue the other option and mother of all bureaucracy comes into play. You will be asked to input about five types of your particulars before you are ushered to the next page that has a further six options including Ezee Money (which, actually, does not work).

Depending on which option you choose, you will still meet another boring catalogue of instructions that you are supposed to execute before you can complete your transaction.  

If you choose Visa, you are supposed to supply your full names, email, address, town, Zip Code and lots of what looks like irrelevant data. I suspect they will soon be asking about the last time you slept on an empty stomach.

While at it, they continue to remind you about how your payment will be processed via Pesapal so that you won’t bitch about it when Pesapal eventually sends you some redundant email seconds after completion of your transaction.

It is a similar story when you choose Airtel Money. There is a business number (111222) you are supposed to send money to, so they can send you a transaction ID that you will feed into that payment portal. You just have to properly quote the reference though – pp – and you are good to go.

Of course Pesapal won’t be done with you, yet. They’ll still tell you how they have successfully completed your transaction. And then the mail will follow, of course. Just in case you are the smart-alec that will demand for transaction confirmation.

The beauty of this is that you will still get your e-paper in pretty much the same format and layout as the printed version. The default view may appear small and illegible, but the bottom panel does have an option of zooming one’s current page to a more user-friendly view.

The default view shows the current version, but you still have the option of checking a paper that was published in the past (I am not sure how far back the history goes, though).

Dan A. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Culture | Gendered Names in different Ethnicities

Yes, we back again. This time we are looking at the existence of gendered names amongst the different cultures in our region.

We have already looked at how some cultures choose names according to prevailing conditions – weather, psychological condition or even one’s thoughts (remember that piece about the Samia?).

Today, we look at gendered names. The Baganda, for example, have a number of male names that start with “S (or sometimes “Ss”), with their female equivalents replacing the “S/Ss” with “Na”. Examples of such names include Semakula (Namajula), Sserwanga (Nalwanga), Ssebulime (Nabulime), Ssenyonjo (Nanyonjo) and others.

For others, the original male is pre-fixed with the syllable: “Na”. Examples of such names include: Mubiru (Namubiru), Mawejje (Namawejje), Mazzi (Namazzi), Mayanja (Namayanja), Lule (Nalule), Musisi (Namusisi), Buyondo (Nabuyondo) among others.

Most Nilotic communities, in general, have gendered names being differentiated by the first letter of the name, where, for example, most Male names that start with “O” have the female equivalents starting with “A”.

Examples of such names include: Okello (Akello), Ochom (Achom), Otim (Atim), Ocan (Acan), Ocen (Acen), Opito (Apito), Odong (Adong) and others.

Amongst the Western Uganda tribes, however, most names are used interchangeably. But further South, amongst the Banyarwanda/Barundi, the name-gendering shows up again.

An interesting pattern in Kinyarwanda has the original male names prefixed by “Muka”. Examples of such names include: Ntabana (Mukantabana), Rwego (Mukarwego), Nkusi (Mukankusi), Nkubano (Mukankubano), Nkunda (Mukankunda) and others.

Still in Kinyarwanda, female equivalents are prefixed with “Nyira” (instead of “Muka”), while some have both versions. One good example is the name: “Yuhi” that has both “Mukayuhi” and “Nyirayuhi”.

What gendered names exist in your culture?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Lifestyle | Festive Season Vandals

Vandals. Thugs. Goons. They are upon us, those violent opportunists that seem to have their appetites at an all-time high during the festive period.  They are everywhere, vandalizing anything valuable they come across.

They have snatched mobile phones off unsuspecting motorists in peak hour traffic. They have caused bodily harm to innocent people. They have broken into homes and exchanged prized property with fits of rage and trauma. And off they go. With no shame. With no remorse. Nor anything else that makes them feel for their victims. For them, it’s just another day at office.

Last night, they attacked a friend of mine from just outside his gate in Kira. They clobbered him to near death before making off with his car, a Silver grey Toyota Kluger Reg No: UAX 477D, and its contents. If you saw this vehicle at awkward hours this morning, then you know it was still in the wrong hands.

The car has since been recovered. But Jesse still lies in pain, having been admitted with multiple injuries – head and everywhere else – at Nakasero hospital.

This is the third or fourth incident I am getting to know about, this week. Mamerito Mugerwa, the ex-Kira Municipality mayor, is currently admitted at the same hospital having sustained multiple gunshot injuries in a separate attack last night.

Just yesterday, I saw photos, posted in one social media forum, of another horror show. Thugs, probably armed with machetes and chainsaws, broke into a home and made off with valuable property in a swift but ruthless heist that is reported to have lasted less than 10 minutes. By the time police arrived at the scene, the thugs had vanished.

Bloody times we live in, today. Should we all acquire guns?  

Lifestyle | Depression

Every one of us has that friend who will crave for attention, usually, by not necessarily seeking it. They are mostly loners. They do not do crowds. They are the type that will keep to themselves even when on a night out and everyone else is screaming their lungs out.

Like a startled centipede, they will curl up in one corner, face pensively glued on some smart phone in their hands. Some people gradually slip into depression with no idea what they are getting into.

A little over a decade ago, one young man sat in a form 1 class with kids several years younger. For some reason, he mostly kept to himself. Other times, he kept a small circle of friends he felt understood him. He probably felt out of place. Sometimes.

He had forged friendship with students a couple of years and classes his senior, despite his calm and reserved persona. Once in a while, he and two of his friends would pass by State House (as our room was then referred to) for the occasional chitchat.

Sometime towards the end of second term, James came by. He looked a little bothered and pensive, though one could easily have mistaken his veneer for his usual behavior. I do not recall what he mumbled, and would not have made much sense of it had it not been for an incident that happened a couple of weeks later.

James had known about the existence of a mini home armory for a while. He was friends with the guys that were entrusted to take charge of the place. He could sneak in and pick a gun and (almost) do anything he wanted.

He did, one day.

It was a cold Saturday evening when James eventually found his way into the store and reached out for an AK47. His guardian – then the army chief – was away, having travelled on some official assignment. Cold muzzle pointed to one side of his head and one hand in firm grip on the other end of the Kalashnikov, he pulled the trigger. In a flash, James was no more.

News of his death spread like wild fire. We were both in shock and total disbelief. I still recall Radio West’s Birungi Michael Bahinyoza’s headline that evening like it was yesterday. Then followed Capital FM, and Sunday Vision carried a screaming headline the following morning. James, indeed, was gone.  

A suicide note, probably written in haste, did not say much, save for the fact one could only hazard implied betrayal and frustration.

James Kikukule Kigo would probably still be alive, going about his business like any other 28 year-old would, had someone whispered words of encouragement months before he made that tragic decision to take his own life.

- Dan A.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Lifestyle | A toast to 5!

So, last weekend happened to feature one of those days I never miss in a calendar year. With one year officially struck off my shelf life, I was left with no choice but to do the things an average bloke does when anniversaries suddenly start showing up in (seemingly) shorter intervals than they are supposed to. Like it’s only been six months since you feted the previous one. Like you’ve spent one half of the last twelve months in comma.

Suddenly you look back and you can actually account for every single one of the months – which may or may not necessarily mean accomplishment in the true sense of the word. Your twelve months may feature some missed goals. There could be some positives (or lots of them, depending on your efficiency and the efficiency of those around you). Or it could just have been a smooth sail all through.

I pondered about the goals and aspirations we set as kids, and how it all panned out. It’s one of those moments when you look back at the years gone by and you can’t help but imagine what could have happened if you had done certain things differently.

The same weekend coincides with our wedding anniversary. A couple of years after University, I met a fabulous woman in Carol, who also happened to live in the neighborhood of my place of abode at the time. One thing led to another, and it would only be a matter of time before the chemistry got its permanent address, on November 05, 2011.

On November 05, 2016, we officially made five years in marriage, a few hours before I turned a year older. In an era where a spiraling number of marriages last shorter than an average presidential office term, there was always going to be ample temptation to toast to this. And boy has it been a ride!

It’s been an action-packed five years. Five years of love. New friends. Three wonderful children. Several milestones, both tangible and non-tangible. The occasional trip. And everything else in between. It’s been five years of a roller-coaster learning curve about love, life and business. 

It’s been five years of literally everything I could possibly ask for. It’s been a testament our self-coined blueprint of Communication, Commitment and Compromise (CCC), which I imagine only works when the two parties are in sync.

It’s probably down to compatibility. Or character. Or willpower. I don’t know. It’s a riddle we chose to leave unanswered as a couple of sweet red wine glasses clanged into a cameo harmonic, on a night that we toasted to a thrilling five years of marriage. We can only be thankful to God for seeing us through this, and hope that this lives on for many more years.

So, here’s to me, albeit belatedly, to yet another year on the trot. And here’s to us, to the five years of what should be a lifelong journey!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tech | Sorry, we couldn’t connect to Skype!

Have you even encountered such an error? What did you do, or rather, what do you think you had done to deserve such a response from your beloved voice and chat application? It is one of those irritating issues you are likely to face during your lifelong relationship with Skype.

I had my first horror moment after close to 8 cool years of using Skype. Something had gone wrong, though I couldn’t figure out what exactly it was. I went on a wild goose chase, feeding my google search engine, with all sorts of questions and inquiries.

By the time I identified the source of my nightmare, I had been to hell and back. From several futile re-installations to a million password resets and my eventual search for Skype’s web version (which, by the way, does exist at: ), I had seen it all.

It was all in vain – well, almost – until one useful clue showed up on page 5 of my search results. I rarely go beyond the second page, but something nudged me to go on. And there it was. Something to do with my internet explorer browser.

Despite several updates and add-ons and versions (probably 11, now), internet explorer has never been the kind of browser to tickle my fancy. So I thought I could do without it. I had binned it, and with it went my Skype functionality.

Several times, I tried to launch internet explorer with little success. The darned browser simply couldn’t show up (I was feeling too lazy to go through a fresh installation). Eventually I had no choice but reinstall IE, and voila, my Skype was back!

I have since faced a couple of related issues, and both had similar solutions. This, of course, may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, but most errors of that particular description have something to do with IE. Sometimes all one needs to do is to update their IE to the latest version.

Dan A. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Music | Lyrics to Mayavale (Mbilia Bel)

1) Mayavale eh, Mayavale eh/
Osali ngai super film, Mayavale/
Babimisi yo la reine ya kotongo baninga/
Obimaki la reine ya kofinga baninga/
Kati ya nzoto, kati ya nzoto/
Moto ekopelaka ngai/
Nse ya motema, nse ya motema/
Makila ekotanga nse ya rouge/
Mayavale, e Mayavale, kobebisa te, kobebisa te/
Nandimaki te e Mava./

1) Mayavale eh, Mayavale eh/
You made a great movie about me, Mayavale/
You’ve been branded queen of slander against your friends/
You’ve become the chief mudslinger of your friends/
Within my body, within my body/
I feel burning fire/
Deep in my heart, deep in my heart/
My blood is boiling/
Mayavale, eh Mayavale/
Don’t hurt me, do not destroy me/
I can’t believe this, Maya/

2) Mayavale eh Mayavale eh/
Kobebisa te, kobebisa te/
Nandimaki te o Mava/
Babimisi yo la reine ya kobebisa mabala/
Obimaki la reine ya kobebisa bolingo ya baninga/
Nse motema, nse motema/
Obomba nde makambo sanduku e/
Kati ya nzoto, kati ya nzoto makila ekotanga/
Na se ya rouge/

Oh Ma Mayavale eh/
Napesa yo nde confiance obimaka na papa ya bana na ngai/
Mpo yo okoma lokola famille na ngai/
Batikaka mpondu esika ya ntaba te/
Obebisi ngai motema/
Nse motema, nse motema/
Obomba nde makambo sanduku/

2) Mayavale eh, eh Mayavale/
Don’t hurt me, do not destroy me/
I can’t believe this, Mava/
You were chosen as the chief spoiler of people’s marriages/
You are known as the queen spoiler of people’s relationships/
And other people in love/
Your heart is like a cache of problems/
In my heart, blood is boiling/

Oh eh Mayavale/
I trusted you by allowing you out with the father of my children /
Because you had become like my sister/
They say you cannot keep cassava leaves near a goat/
You have broken my heart/
Your heart is like a cache of problems/

3) Mayavale eh, Mayavale eh/
Fina naino frein ya motema na yo/
Kanga naino liboke ya mabe na yo/
Tiya yango liboke pelisa moto/

3) Mayavale eh, Mayavale eh/
Only carry burdens what your heart can handle/
Gather all your evils/
Wrap them and set them on fire/

4) Mayavale eh Mayavale eh/
Raccorder naino makanisi na yo/
Tiya yango na nzela ekoki/
Mayavale osali super film/

Mayavale eh, Mayavale eh/
Nakitisi motema na nse/
Nayembela yo nzembo, nzembo ya bolingo/
Na ngai epai na yo, epai ya bandeko, epai ya baboti ba yo/
Confiance elekaki nakomaki zoba/

4) Mayavale eh, Mayavale eh/
Connect your thoughts a little/
And put them on the right path/
Mayavale, you made a great movie about me/

Mayavale eh, eh Mayavale/
I composed myself to sing this song for you/
About the love I have for you/
And for your brothers and sisters and your parents/
I regret having trusted you/

5) Nazalaki kokumisa yo/
Zabolo nini ekoteli yo? /
Oyaki nde kotalela ngai bana/
Likambo ya somo, somo, somo dis/
Likambo ya Mayavale eh/
Yebisa ngai ndenge ebandaki/
Bongisa naino liloba yango/
Mpo nazoka mpota ya nzube te na motema/

5) I praised you a lot/
What demon possessed you?/
You came to help me look after my kids/
What a horrible story, horrible friend! /
This issue of Mayavale/
Tell me how you started this relationship/
Craft your tale very well/
So I may not worsen the wounds in my heart /

Maya Mayavale, Mava Mami Vala/
Yo mabe Mayavale/
Yo mabe Mavibala/
Mobali ya moninga kotala na miso/
Okolinga kolula elengi ngo/
Soki nazalaki santu nabongola likambo yango ebunga/

Maya Mayavale Mava Mamie Vala/
You are evil Mayavale/
You are evil, Mavibala/
What is good in lusting after someone else’s husband? /
If I were the Holy Spirit, I would erase your story from my memory/

Monday, June 13, 2016

Travel | A toast to a hero

He smiled and glowed and peered at the tens of pairs of eyes that now had him as the center of attention. He wore the dreamy expression of a jackpot winner. He tried to mask the excitement but was let down by the occasional wry smile.

On the sweltering afternoon of June 09, 2016, Cosma Jackson Bukenya wore the triumphant smile of an Olympic medal winner. We hugged and he inquired how I felt and whether I had recovered fully. We shook hands and hugged again. Five more times. Or seven. Probably fifteen (I have since lost count). I had finally met my hero of the year.

Seventy (70) days earlier – on April 01, 2016 – I had almost met my creator when the front tyre of my car gave way, making it swerve and veer off the road before coming to a sudden halt, having hit a roadside culvert in a loud bang that attracted the attention of the neighborhood populace at Malongo in Lwengo district (Masaka road).  

This account is probably just a figment of what I can recall. I imagine the guy who coined the phrase: "Seeing stars" must have experienced what I was going through. My world shut down. The sun went on a break and took the moon and the stars with it. All I could see was a dark universe filled with swarms of dancing fireflies in vertical leaps as they snaked their way into the dark stratosphere.

What followed was a blitzkrieg of humming sounds and rummaging hands all over my body in apparent act of a treasure hunt. Suddenly, I heard a strong, commanding voice shoot through.

"Ssebo, ssebo. Ompulira? (Sir, sir. Can you hear me?)" I heard the voice but I could not talk. Something seemed to have taken custody of my voice and there was nothing I could do about it however much I tried.

I could tell he had managed to pull me out of the wreckage and called for another car. I managed to respond when he called me again, a little later. He asked me for my names and two people he could contact immediately. My speech hadn’t fully returned, so I still could not spell out a complete telephone number. I could tell he was beginning to sound frustrated.

"Carol 701!!!" I screamed, after three failed attempts at giving him the number off-head. "I have your money and one of your phones. I have contacted your wife and you will be helped shortly. Please feel safe", he said.

I could hear him say the doctor had suggested I am taken to either Mbarara or Kitovu hospital as he could not handle my case, and he was making calls and arrangements and everything else in between.

All this while, everything around me remained pitch dark and the restive fireflies in my dark world went about their business uninterrupted. I could hear people talk but I couldn’t see anything. I imagine I was blacking out and regaining consciousness in intervals.

I was in too much pain. I was hungry. I felt thirsty. And I wanted to piss. I screamed for water but no one was forthcoming (I would later learn that it was a precautionary measure as my abdomen was in bad shape).

He stuck around until plans to evacuate me had been finalized. He travelled with the team up to Nakasero Hospital, only leaving after he had met my wife and handed over the personal effects he had salvaged from the accident scene. I would later learn that his name was Bukenya. Cosma Bukenya, the Good Samaritan as we came to call him.

We would learn, much later, that I was not the first accident victim Bukenya had rescued. A group of friends mooted the idea of honring Bukenya on heroes’ day as mine was one of the few cases where accident victims got help from total strangers. A couple of friends had lost their loved ones on the same road before.

So we chose to remember the departed souls of Eng. Aroni Musoke (2010) and Mrs. Miriam Kiconco, father and wife (respectively) to two of our colleagues who had perished in separate motor accidents on the same road.

On June 09, 2016, the team pooled funds and made the trip to Malongo as we paid a surprise visit to Bukenya. We arrived at about 14:30 hrs before I visited the scene that would easily have been one of my last moments on earth.

In a few minutes, a mini crowd had gathered. Kids. Old women. Youthful women. Drunk men. Sober men. Squalid youths. Some decent ones. People from all walks of (Malongo) life.

Asked if he could recognize any other faces apart from a friend of mine who he had met before, Bukenya glanced around before casting his eyes in my direction: "Sirina mulala gwentegedde, naye ono omwami onfaniddemu Dan (I cannot recognize anyone else, but this gentleman, right here, resembles Dan)." So we exchanged pleasantries before we finally broke the news to him – a small token of 1.5 million UGX that left him both surprised and excited.

The sizeable crowd was as attentive as a curious congregation listening to an apocalyptic church sermon. In a few minutes, the drinks we carried had started making rounds.

So they drank and chatted before the guy doing the serving cheekily shoved a couple of bottles our way. "Kwata, namwe munyweeko. Temuba nga mwatuleetedde obutwa (Here, please partake. That way we’ll tell your drinks are not poisoned)", he said as he handed me one of the bottles.

"Mubutuufu nali simanyi nti ojjakuwona (I honestly did not think you would make it)", said Bukenya, repeating the same statement he had made when I first spoke to him on phone, a couple of weeks earlier. He gave his speech before we headed to his home. It was here that he formally introduced his wife, a humble daughter of Eve with whom he had sired seven children.

Special mention must be made, of the various people that ensured my recovery was a smooth one. Special thanks to the entire team at Nakasero hospital for overseeing my surgery and subsequent treatment. You did a great job (Special shout-out to doctors Mbidde and Mwambu).

To my wife and in-laws that stood by me during this entire period, thank you for being very supportive. To my workmates, I cannot thank you enough for giving me all the support I needed.

And lastly to my friends, relatives and everyone else for the moral, spiritual and financial support rendered to me during this time. May God richly bless your tireless efforts! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tech | Whatsapp for PC is finally here!

The lack of an independent desktop application had always been one of the few bones I wanted to pick with Whatsapp. Hunching over a handset every once in a few minutes during office hours can be somewhat laborious and would continuously make you wish for a convenient alternative. You just would do with anything that delivers that convenience on your PC without having to touch any extra gadgets and stuff.

For some time now, the Whatsapp web version, accessible via a web browser has been the principal go-to choice (Someone might want to scream Bluestacks, but it’s never been my favorite).

Whatsapp recently released an independent application, one that anyone can download and install onto their PC and they are good to go. Whereas one has to go with the Whatsapp web version, this app only requires a one-time installation that can be launched like any other application. It is available for download at:

You should be able to see something similar to the screenshot below;


It comes with the flexibility of choosing the download/installation language. The Windows installer says it’s meant for Windows 8 and higher, but I have tried it on Windows 7 and it still works perfectly.

The Windows installer is about 62 MB in size, and the installation process is pretty basic – the typical double-click to open, and choose to install. It takes a couple of minutes and the application is ready for use.

Upon completion of the installation, the application opens with a code scanning prompt similar to the one prompted by Whatsapp web browser portal.

Scanning the code grants you instant access to the standalone Whatsapp application (See screenshot below).

This is slightly different from the web portal, shown below (for comparison purposes);

The Pros:
1) Independence from browser activity. Some browsers freeze with resource-intensive activity and may crash. When this happens, all previously open windows will have to be re-opened, sometimes resulting into a break in communication chains.

2) Streamlined resource management. Sometimes Whatsapp may consume more resources than it ordinarily would. This may make a browser unresponsive, and may freeze or crash. With this application, it is easy to have it isolated (via Task manager for example, if you are using Windows) without affecting any other running programs.

3) The application comes with a separate, clearly defined menu, and this partly enhances the navigation and management of chats, groups and chat history.

The Cons:
1) Almost all features are still the same as for Clicking on a particular contact, for example, does not have the option of “Media” to show and/highlight media files that might have been exchanged between the two parties.

2) Like its web version predecessor, the application does not allow transfer of certain media types – such as mp3 music files. One would have to first convert them to mp4 format. The alternative would be changing the file extension to mp4.